Installation and Apps
The Xserve with OS X Server provides an appliance-like ease of setup. The unit is simple to rack and easy to cable, and the initial OS X Server setup was a breeze to complete. I was able to integrate the Xserve into my existing Windows Active Directory environment with very little effort. The initial setup also offers an advanced setup that enables IT managers to tailor services instead of taking all the applications offered by the standard installation process. There are no blades or larger chassis options with the Apple Xserve, which comes as a 1U (1.75-inch) rackable system. But what IT managers will get in the two-product family (a single quad-core processor is also available) is OS X Server Version 10.5, which comes with an iCal Server for group scheduling; a wiki platform; and an application called Podcast Producer that plays on Apple's longstanding work in the video production world.The Xserve can interact with many kinds of clients, but by far the easiest relationship exists between the Xserve and MacBook and Mac Pro clients. With my Mac desktop systems running Leopard 10.5, it was a snap to integrate with iCal, iChat and Time Machine services. When I used the Directory Utility on my MacBook Pro, it immediately located and offered services from the Xserve. With a couple of clicks, the iCal application on my desktop and notebook Apple systems were fully integrated with the corresponding services on the Xserve. This is the upside of an all-Apple environment-everything just worked. I didn't have to organize any driver hunting parties or firmware update posses. The clients and server operating systems all went about their business of providing the applications that I expected. Technical Director Cameron Sturdevant can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Xserve also provides e-mail, iChat IM services and Time Machine backup services to Mac clients on the network-all products that are usually costly in the Windows world.